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Interstate enforcement issue highlighted by Florida and Illinois case

Posted on in Divorce

This case began with the Illinois divorce of Donald and Lois Weiss.

At the time of the divorce, Donald was required to maintain three policies of life insurance on his life to benefit Lois. Lois sold her rights to one of the life insurance policies back to Donald in 1994, but he was still required to maintain the other two policies.

By 2007, 25 years after the divorce, Donald decided to stop paying on the two insurance policies. Lois took him back to court, and after Donald did not show up to defend himself, the Illinois Court swayed in Lois’s favor for just over $80,000 and awarded the ownership of the policies to her. The court also found Donald in contempt.

As Donald apparently had moved to Florida, Lois domesticated her judgment there. Soon after, the Florida court also entered judgment against Donald for an additional $80,000.

The Florida court also found Donald on contempt of both the Illinois and Florida orders, and ordered him to pay $2,500 per month to purge the contempt. A Writ of Garnishment was also entered against Donald’s monthly income for the full amount of the judgment.

Donald appealed this order, however, claiming that the Florida court should have respected the Illinois contempt judgment.

First, the Florida appellate court notes that Lois’s judgment against Donald regarding the insurance policies was a money judgment and not a support judgment. Therefore, although the judgment arises in the context of marriage, it is simplified down to a common money judgment.

Donald argued that because of the contempt order, he was subject to being jailed for not paying a debt, but the appellate court disagreed because he had not yet been ordered to jail, therefore that argument was invalid.

This argument has been constant for some time now, unclear of who the winner will be.

To avoid a mess like Lois and Donald’s, long after your divorce, contact an experienced divorce attorney. Attorneys in Illinois can help you with your divorce, so contact A. Traub & Associates, Attorneys at Law today.


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